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Wind farm feedback extended

TrustPower has decided to extend its public consultation period for its proposed wind farm in South Taranaki.

The company announced last October that it intended to build a 48-turbine wind farm on a 980ha coastal property between Patea and Waverley.

At the time, TrustPower said it would spend five months consulting with the local communities before submitting its resource consent application to the South Taranaki District Council.

However, Ryan Piddington, TrustPower’s lead environmental adviser, said the consultation period had been extended to receive further feedback from the affected communities.

“The initial community consultation period started at the end of October 2012 and included community information and feedback evenings, in Waverley and Patea, a site open day, and an information stall at the Waverley A&P; Show,” Mr Piddington said.

Despite this, Mr Piddington said he believed there were still plenty of people who would like more information or wanted to ask questions about the project.

“This is a big development for the region and it’s important to ensure that the community is informed about the proposed wind farm, while also giving them the opportunity to raise any concerns. We want the community to be part of the lead-up to the development,” he said.

Mr Piddington said the smaller meetings, including the one-on-ones with neighbours, had not had much response and he encouraged people to contact him if they wanted information or had questions.

“We will be in touch again shortly with landowners within a 3km radius of the site, to ensure that they have all the information they need, as well as having their views listened to.”

Mr Piddington said further community information and feedback evenings would be held in Waverley and Patea, although final details on these are not yet available.

A spokesman for the South Taranaki District Council said the council had no involvement with the wind farm project until resource consent was lodged.

It’s not the first time a wind farm has been planned for this area.

In April 2007, Australian company Allco Wind Energy announced its intention to build a wind farm in the area. The company lodged a resource consent application with the South Taranaki District Council later that year.

However, after a number of delays the application was withdrawn in mid-2009, and the company was placed under the control of administrators.

WAVERLEY WIND FARM PROPOSAL:

Consultation with local iwi Nga Rauru and Ngati Ruanui began in 2009, and talks with the Department of Conservation and councils in 2010. Discussions with neighbours since early 2012.

The wind farm will comprise 48 turbines, each 160m high.

It will have an approximate generation capacity of 140MW. [Te Apiti wind farm in the Manawatu Gorge generates 90MW from its 55 105m turbines.]

The site is unique in that it is extremely flat and has very few constraints.

Between 80 and 100 people would be involved in its construction.

Eight to 10 people would be employed on an ongoing basis to be responsible for monitoring, operation and maintenance of the facility.

The wind farm will include 25km of internal roads, culverts across the Waipipi Stream, a concrete batching plant, plus two bores for water.

For more information, see www.trustpower.co.nz.